Tuesday, May 29, 2012

MSNBC's Chris Hayes Apologizes for Stupid Comments Disrespecting America's Fallen Military Heroes

ICYMI, here's the background, with video, "MSNBC's Chris Hayes 'Uncomfortable' Honoring Fallen U.S. Troops, Spews About 'Rhetorically Proximate' Justifications for More War."

And here's the apology, via Puff Ho:
On Sunday, in discussing the uses of the word "hero" to describe those members of the armed forces who have given their lives, I don't think I lived up to the standards of rigor, respect and empathy for those affected by the issues we discuss that I've set for myself. I am deeply sorry for that.

As many have rightly pointed out, it's very easy for me, a TV host, to opine about the people who fight our wars, having never dodged a bullet or guarded a post or walked a mile in their boots. Of course, that is true of the overwhelming majority of our nation's citizens as a whole. One of the points made during Sunday's show was just how removed most Americans are from the wars we fight, how small a percentage of our population is asked to shoulder the entire burden and how easy it becomes to never read the names of those who are wounded and fight and die, to not ask questions about the direction of our strategy in Afghanistan, and to assuage our own collective guilt about this disconnect with a pro-forma ritual that we observe briefly before returning to our barbecues.

But in seeking to discuss the civilian-military divide and the social distance between those who fight and those who don't, I ended up reinforcing it, conforming to a stereotype of a removed pundit whose views are not anchored in the very real and very wrenching experience of this long decade of war. And for that I am truly sorry.
That's not much of an apology, actually.

Indeed, it's not all that complicated. Parsing all the rhetorical proximity to war is freakin' stupid. Americans are steeped in military history and when our soldiers lose their lives that's considered a greater act of valor. The individual agency involved is just part of the larger symbolism of national purpose and sacrifice. It's stupid to ignore that larger symbolism. And it's even more stupid not to recognize that a television network --- even a network as far left as MSNBC --- is a far different medium than the rarefied pages of The Nation (where Hayes is an editor).

But maybe that's intellectualizing it a bit much. Here's Bill Quick for the concise response to Hayes:
He’s lying, and I don’t believe a word of his apology.

In fact, I think if he said what he really thinks, he’d tell us that the American fighting man is nothing more than a robotically programmed killer hired by the hegemons of the American empire to brutalize the helpless indigenous peoples of the world in order to further their exploitation in the furnaces and sweat shops of capitalism.
More at Pull My Chain, "Well I’m uncomfortable calling Hayes a ‘journalist’."